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Answers to Questions

A department of expert advice for all ETUDE readers. All letters not bearing full name and address of the sender will be destroyed
A department of expert advice for all ETUDE readers. All letters not bearing full name and address of the sender will be destroyed
Q. What is a Cracovienne? (S. M. C.)
A. A dance of Polish origin in two-four time and characterized by many syncopations.
Q. I desire to investigate the requirements leading to the degree of Bachelor of Music of Oxford and of Cambridge Universities in England. To whom shall I apply for this information?
A. For Cambridge University apply to "C. J Clay, Press Warehouse, Ave Maria lane, London." For Oxford, "The Manager, Clarendon Press Depot, 116 High street, Oxford." State that these addresses have been furnished by The Etude and make your inquiries very clear and you will doubtless receive full and expicit (sic) information.
Q. Please tell me something of the life of Victor Herbert. (A. L. S.)
A. Victor Herbert was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1859. He is a grandson of the famous Irish novelist, Samuel Lover. His musical education commenced in Germany at the age of seven. He became leading violoncello player in the court orchestra of Stuttgart and played at many important concerts in Europe. In 1886 he became the 'cello soloist at the Metropolitan House. In 1894 he became bandmaster of the Twenty-second Regiment, and later conductor of the Pittsburg Orchestra. He is at present resident in New York and is, of course, a famous com. poser of light operas, such as "Babes in Toyland," "It Happened in Nordland" and others, besides music of a more elaborate nature.
Q. Is a curved line from one note to another of the same pitch always a tie? Does a dot affect it? (F. P. R.)
A. The curved line drawn over two notes of the same pitch is only a tie when it is unaccompanied by dots. When accompanied by dots it signifies a non legato, meaning that the notes are to be slightly disconnected, usually with a pressure touch.
Q. 1. Do you always accent the first note of a phrase, and is the last note always staccato?
2. How should repeated notes be played? (M. D.)
A. 1. The first note of a phrase is not necessarily accented. It is only accented if it is a note upon which an accent would ordinarily fall. Neither is the final note always staccato, but, as a general rule, the end of one phrase and beginning of the following are slightly disconnected.
2. Single repeated notes, known as a tremolo passage, are usually played with an alternation of the fingers. For instance, if you had a note repeated four times, you would use the fingers in this order : 4, 3, 2, 1, etc. Of course, this substitution of fingers would not take place where you are repeating chords. Repeated chords, if they are very rapid, are played with an elastic motion of the hand from the wrist; slow repeated chords may be taken from the forearm.
Q. Should the pedal be used just as indicated in a published piece? (E. W.)
A. The pedal should be used exactly as indicated when it is marked throughout the entire piece. In some cases, however, the pedal is marked in the early part of a piece merely as an indication as to how it should be carried out throughout the remainder. In this case some discretion is left to the player.
Q. What is the difference between a serenade and a serenata?
A. None. The word serenade may be found in the following different forms: English, Serenade; French, Sérènade; Italian, Serena-ta ; German, Standchen.
Q. Is the tuning fork of ancient origin?
A. It was invented by an Englishman (John Shore), in 1711.
Q. Please give me the meaning of the word "solfeggio "
A. The word has two commonly accepted meanings: (1) A vocal exercise sung upon one vowel instead of upon words. (2) A vocal exercise sung upon the "sol-fa" syllables.
Q. Can the soft pedal and the loud pedal be used at the same time?
A. Yes. It is best to refer to the "loud" pedal as the damper pedal, as its purpose is to remove the little pieces of felt known as dampers from the wires, in order to permit the wires to continue to vibrate as long as the dampers are held up by the pressure of the foot upon the pedal. The damper pedal and the soft pedal are entirely separate in their mechanism.
Q. Is it best to memorize at the keyboard or away from the keyboard?
A. Both methods may be used. Memory is almost entirely a matter of mental concentration, although after the fingers have repeatedly played a passage many times they do seem to fall naturally into the "grooves" and apparently play entirely without intellectual effort. This process is attributed to "nervous reflex action" by psychologists. This of course can only be developed at the keyboard. However, the most economical method of memorizing is through intellectual concentration, and it is sometimes advisable to practice the piece mentally away from the keyboard either with or without the music. It is reported that Paderewski has the custom of rehearsing his pieces mentally after he has retired at night. Von Bülow is said to have memorized an entire pianoforte concerto while travelling a comparatively short distance on a railroad train.
Q. I have been a victim of a fraud music publisher. By this I mean that I wrote a composition which I imagined was worthy because I knew little about music. I saw an advertisement which literally proposed to make me rich through my composition. I sent in the manuscript, and was informed that I would have to pay for publication and that this included the cost of placing the composition upon the market. Since then I have found that the persons I wrote to had never conducted a publishing house, but were no more nor less than swindlers. Would you advise me to prosecute these fraudulent publishers?
A. No. Your case is an example to others, and about all you have accomplished for the money you have spent is this opportunity of putting others on their guard. The offices of publishers are continually flooded with manuscripts, and it is rarely necessary to solicit manuscripts, except from the most eminent composers. Young writers should be extremely careful in ascertaining something of the financial responsibility of a house, especially an unknown or newly-established house, before submitting their compositions. In no case should the composer pay to have a piece published.
Q. Is it necessary to copyright a composition before sending it to a publisher?
A. Not if the publisher's reputation is well- established. Even in the case of unscrupulous publishers a copyright is of little value because the publisher might purloin parts of your piece in such a way that you might not detect it. The best method is to select a reputable publisher whose standing is such that he cannot afford to jeopardize his business by questionable practices. If your piece really has commercial value the publisher is usually only too anxious to encourage you with the hope that you may be able to produce other pieces of similar worth.
Q. Does playing the trombone injure the throat?
A. Not if the instrument is properly played.
Q. What is the origin of the carol?
A. The old French word Carole defined a kind of dance which was danced in a ring. The song which accompanied this dance was called a Carole, and thus the word became common to most of the languages of Europe. Chaucer used to apply it to both dancing and singing. Grove defines it as "a kind of popular song appropriated to some special season of the ecclesiastical or natural year." The Welsh used to have Summer and Winter Carols. The earliest English Christmas Carol appeared in the 13th Century. It was in the Norman-French tongue.
Q. What is the tonic—sol-fa system?
A. A letter notation invented by Miss Glover, an English woman, and perfected by the Rev. John Curwen. It is impossible to describe this system within the limits of our space. The system met with great popularity in England, and is an excellent method for those whose musical education is not designed to encompass the regular musical or staff notation. The "tonic—sol-fa" notation is decidedly limited in its scope and is not adapted for extensive use in pianoforte instruction. It is probably for this reason that the system has never become very popular in America. Its principal use is in teaching sight-singing in cases where the singers have not the time to master the more elastic and comprehensive staff notation.
Q. How can one discriminate between dissonant and consonant harmonies by the ear?
A. This is very difficult for some to do. The consonant harmonies give the trained listener a sensation of rest and satisfaction, while the dissonant harmonies give the listener a sensation of unrest and the feeling that one or more voices of the harmony must resolve into the tone of some consonant harmony. This, of course, also depends upon harmonic relationship, or the relationship of the discord to the key of the composition.
Q. What does the word cadence mean?
A. The word cadence means a fall. In music it applies to the final chords of a piece of music or the final chords of any of its subdivisions. There are several cadences, as follows: The Perfect, or Authentic, cadence consists, of the dominant chord followed by the tonic chord. The Plagal cadence consists of the subdominant chord followed by the tonic chord. A Half cadence consists of the tonic chord followed by the dominant. A False (or Interrupted) cadence consists of the dominant chord followed by any other chord than the tonic.

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